In a hallway at Rock Hill's Phoenix Academy alternative school, students in the Crossroads program are divided into two groups -- males and females.
The students attend classes in single-sex classrooms, only mingling with students of the other gender before school, at lunch and after class.
Single-gender classes are a trend throughout the country, and local school districts don't want to be left behind.
Advocates of single-gender classes say that by removing social distractions and gearing lessons toward the different learning styles of boys and girls, students are able to learn more.
"One thing we found is that when the students are in their classes, the girls aren't in there trying to do anything to get the guys' attention, and the same thing with the guys," said Wade Witherspoon, administrative assistant for Phoenix Academy, who works closely with Crossroads. "The guys don't have any girls to try to show off for."
Crossroads likely will cease to offer single-gender classes next semester because the incoming group of students has more males than females, but Witherspoon said it's not because they don't like the arrangement.
Rock Hill teachers, principals and administrators will meet later this month with David Chadwell, the state director of single-gender initiatives, to explore the possibilities of more single-gender classes.
"From that point, it's kind of in the principals' hands of who wants to pursue that further," said district Superintendent Lynn Moody.
Moody has previously suggested offering an all-male algebra class at South Pointe High School.
More than 75 South Carolina schools in more than 50 districts offer some form of single-gender classes, Chadwell said.
The key to making it work is tailoring the learning environment to the way each gender learns best, he said. The concepts covered must be the same.
For example, Chadwell said males often learn better with some movement, so an activity such as a ball toss -- where boys must catch a ball to answer a question -- works well in all-male classes.
For females, an emotional reaction feeds interest in learning the content, so girls should be given a chance to collaborate and connect with the material.
Daniel Blackburn, an English teacher at Crossroads, said he has noticed that girls like more discussion in their classes, while boys prefer less "bells and whistles."
"I think it's easier to pick material they can learn from," he said.
Rock Hill schools are not the only ones interested in learning about single-gender options.
Chester boys tapped in '05
Chester Middle School staff hand-picked a group of seventh-grade boys who went to their classes together two years ago, Principal Gail Hamilton said.
Now, Hamilton said she's researching other single-gender classes as an option that possibly could start next year.
"Our teachers seem to be very interested in it," she said.
Panel appointed in Fort Mill
The Fort Mill school district has a committee studying different types of school choice, including single-gender programs, said Fort Mill Middle School Principal Tommy Schmolze.
Schmolze has done his own research and likes the idea of single-gender classes, at least in part of the school.
"I would love to pilot a program if the district looks at it and says, 'Yeah, this is a direction we'd like to move,'" he said. "It makes too much sense with brain research to not give it a try."
Wait and see in York
York school district principals also will hear from Chadwell in November or December. Superintendent Russell Booker said he likes what he has heard about single-gender options, but he needs to learn more and see what principals think.
"I don't want to do it just for the sake of doing it, just because it's the thing right now," Booker said. "I want to make sure that this is something that's really going to benefit."